If you are planning to invest in a website redesign then be sure you take the correct steps to avoid an SEO disaster. With no exaggeration, your investment, if not done properly could end up costing you a lot more than you anticipated.
Website rebuilds that don’t take SEO into consideration often don’t get a return on investment because they don’t consider the websites’ current rankings, link value and current organic traffic. After all, SEO is essential in helping you achieve your website goals. Unsure what SEO is? Check our blog – SEO: What is it and what affects it?
Content & Information Architecture
How your content is organised is important for search engines to understand how your website works. Changing the architecture, sitemap and overall content plan of your website without a plan in place can negatively impact your SEO.
What can you do to avoid hurting your site’s SEO?
Make sure your new site map does not omit the pages that are performing well in search rankings. You can use a tool like SEMrush to identify which pages are bringing you traffic.
It is important to also ensure the overall flow of the sitemap is logical and that the new design does not diminish the message, themes and sections of your pages.
You can use a crawling tool like Screaming Frog or DeepCrawl to find all your websites’ pages.
While you work on redesigning your site make sure to also look at your current content. Editing and maintaining all on-page specific elements such as URLs, page titles, meta descriptions, etc will help ensure each page is optimised.
Search engines hate 404 error pages, so be sure to map out 301 redirects for all pages getting new URLs and those that you are getting rid of in the new sitemap. This is especially true for your best-performing pages with a high number of backlinks.
You don’t want to lose authority over a 404 error page when you can (at the very least) properly redirect them to the updated page URL.
Using the crawling tool (mentioned above), you can find what URLs need to be redirected in your sitemap.
Once your redirects are mapped out, make sure to implement them before launch. Doing this after launch may impact your site’s authority, which will cost you time and money to get back.
At launch time, test everything right away. Chances are your live site does not perform the same as your testing site so any problems that may occur you will want to fix straight away. Quality control checks are essential to avoid losing authority on any of your top-performing pages. Check any redirects, on-page optimisation and everything else new on your site redesign.
Submit XML Sitemaps
Once you are sure your new site is in order, it is time to submit the XML sitemap. Be sure to include the full set of destination URLs.
Note: Triple check for any URLs resulting in 404 errors and ensure all URLs go to the correct destination. You do not want to give Google any errors that may impact your website’s SEO.
If you are finally done triple checking all your pages and are happy with your redesign then congratulations on the hard part. Unfortunately, the work is not over. SEO is an ongoing management task that you need to monitor.
Be sure to monitor Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools and watch for any reported 404 errors, HTML on-page issues or crawling errors. Fix any errors promptly.
If you are finding yourself overwhelmed overseeing the redesign of your new website contact us today. We can help you oversee any digital marketing project and ensure you get a return on your investment. Don’t do a website rebuild without a proper SEO plan. Need an SEO consultation? Contact us today or call us at 02 7906 8410
Gerald and Rose thrive in helping small to medium-sized businesses take their business to the next level through digital marketing services. Websites, social media, graphic design, digital advertising and much more.